The paper considers three channels of economic openness, namely FDI, imports, and exports, and examines their short-run and long-run effects on the economic growth in the five founding member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) over the period from 1980 to 2014. Besides the impact on the economic growth, the authors analyze all possible causal interrelationships to discern patterns and directions of causality among FDI, imports, exports, and GDP. The quantitative analysis, which is based on the vector error correction co-integration framework, is conducted separately for each country in order to assess their individual experiences and allow for a comparative view. Although the precise details differ across countries, the findings indicate that there is a long-run equilibrium relationship between economic openness and GDP in all ASEAN-5 economies. FDI, imports and exports have a significantly positive short-run and long-run impact on the economic growth. Our results also show that export-led growth is the most important economic growth factor in most countries, followed by FDI-led growth. Another crucial finding is the bi-directional causality between exports and FDI across the ASEAN-5 countries. This indicates the presence of direct and indirect effects on GDP and a self-reinforcing process of causality between those two variables, which strengthens their impact on the economic growth.
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